Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Finding our common ground

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Earlier this year, research body Migration Observatory predicted that the UK will become the most ethnically diverse western nation by 2040, overtaking the United States. Whilst the UK is one of the most diverse countries, people tend to live segregated lives, most evident within our schooling system.

Throughout history people have shown intolerance towards one another, which can be explained in evolutionary terms as we tend to congregate with those who are similar to us, as a form of protection.

But, should we really be that primal in the 21st Century?

At The Challenge Network we believe that learning to be more open-minded will allow us to be more receptive to new perspectives, cultures and religions.

An example of this can be found from one of our NCS participants who became a symbol of similarity through difference.

“In the beginning of my NCS experience, I felt a little awkward around my team members as they asked me a lot of questions about my Hijab and religion of Islam. Sometimes the questions seemed ignorant but others were from people that were genuinely interested in my religion. After a while I didn’t feel singled out as we were all new and all in the same boat.

Eventually, we became really close and I feel as though I represented Islam well to my peers, some of them did not have a Muslim female friend until they had met me and some of them seemed surprised that I was a normal girl, just like them.”

 

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